“It is like a curtain that obscured everything”

Suddenly, Alexander Walter way is not easy. “It is like a curtain, closing in on the head along and everything darkened,” says the 37-Year-old one of his epileptic seizures. Three to five minutes, this take. After a quarter of an hour everything is back as if nothing had happened. A trifle to be epileptic seizure, however, is not. It can have fatal consequences, for example in road traffic or in the swimming pool.

Walter succeeds thanks to a anticipation most of the time, to have a glimpse of the seizures and to arm yourself. “After such an incident, I’m exhausted and just want to sleep,” he says. But the happiness of foreboding does not have all that suffer from epilepsy. Can make the disease to anyone at any age – from children to the Elderly. Around 500,000 people are affected, according to information from the German epilepsy Association.

Alexander Walter

In the case of an epileptic seizure consisting of billions of nerve cells existing in the brain for a short period of time is overactive, and sends too many signals. It comes to a kind of Storm in the head. “The consequences quite differently,” said Stefan Conrad, President and CEO of the German epilepsy Association. This is due to the fact that there is a generalized and focal seizures: In the case of the former, the discharge cells in all the brain nerve, for the latter, only in part.

“Utterly exhausted”

Alexander, Walter, has focal seizures, his complaints are comparatively inconspicuous. Other patients cramping and in part limbs, while other parts of the body lose the muscle tension. There are seizures with hallucinations or seizures, in which individual muscle groups in quick succession. And finally, there is the “Grand mal”. This is cramping and twitching of the whole body, the Affected person collapses and loses consciousness.

The causes of the different epilepsies are very different. “This could be strokes, head injuries skin as a result of accidents or inflammations of the brain,” says Conrad. Not always a epilepsy is recognized as such.

It was also the case with Walter. The 37-Year-old was three and a half years old when he was diagnosed with leukemia. The Doctors prescribed back then, a whole brain irradiation to destroy cancer cells. The therapy succeeded. But years later, Walter got a headache again.

“Clearly a migraine,” was the then finding. Walter took a stand against the supposed sickness tablets which didn’t help. One Morning, he woke up completely disoriented. Again he went to the Doctors, this time a neurologist. “In my 24. Years of age, was diagnosed with epilepsy,” he says.

At the time, he went for eight days as an inpatient in an epilepsy center. The Doctors were among other things, an electroencephalogram (EEG), in which you can measure using electrodes of the brain waves. Result in this specific pattern, is an increased tendency probably. In addition, Doctors may use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the brain for abnormalities that could lead to seizures.

Epilepsy: Multiple seizures, with no apparent trigger

A epilepsy is when seizures occur without an identifiable trigger multiple times. “Due to a single seizure epilepsy is not necessarily,” says Conrad. A single attack can also have other causes – sleep deprivation or excessive alcohol consumption.

Walter had in his life countless epileptic seizures. In a epilepsy center, Doctors of medicine, with whom he got the disease in the handle dedicated to him. Since June of 2017 he had no more seizures. But the fear that it could happen again is always there.

Alexander Walter

“I never wanted to, that the epilepsy is controlling my life,” says Walter, who works as a dispatcher in the parental the services, and alone in his apartment alive. He feels in good hands with his family and with his friends. He likes to go swimming, to meet on a glass of red wine or going to the cinema or to the Opera. “For me it was easy because I always had help,” says Walter, who is engaged, among other things, as Chairman of the regional Association Hesse of the German epilepsy Association.

However, there are also those who don’t get along so well in life. Some of them get in spite of medications, regular seizures. “Just for you, it is extremely important that you can communicate with other stakeholders informally,” says Björn Tittmann, head of an epilepsy self-help group in the Saxon town of Annaberg.

What is also a concern: “It must be known, as outsiders, should, in the case of a Case behaviour,” says Tittmann. A seizure stops in the rule. However, it is important to protect the Affected person until then: a sharp-edged, you should remove them, but not violently, a pair of glasses. The person Concerned holds a burning cigarette in the Hand, it should be canceled.

Otherwise, bystanders should be available to the Concerned calmly and patiently to the side, if people are confused after a seizure temporarily. For an ambulance, you must call according to the German epilepsy Association only if:

  • it is unclear whether it is, in fact, an epileptic seizure,
  • the person Concerned has, for the first Time, an epileptic seizure,
  • the seizure is longer than five minutes take
  • the paroxysm within an hour, the second Time occurs
  • the Affected do not come back to consciousness.